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Thread: Important lessons

  1. #1
    Old Fart
    Join Date
    Jun 2002

    Important lessons

    These were shared via email by my uncle. The author is unknown to me, but I'm posting anyway as these make a lot of sense.


    1 - The Most Important Lesson
    During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?"
    Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank.
    Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade. "Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say 'hello'."
    I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

    2 - Second Important Lesson - Pickup in the Rain
    One night, at 11:30 PM, an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rain storm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s.
    The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab. She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached.
    It read: "Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away. God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others."
    Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole.

    3 - Third Important Lesson -
    Always remember those who serve. In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10 year old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. "How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked
    "Fifty cents," replied the waitress. The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it. "Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired.
    By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient. "Thirty-five cents," she brusquely replied." The little boy again counted his coins. "I'll have the plain ice cream," he said.
    The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left.
    When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies. You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.

    4 - Fourth Important Lesson - The Obstacle in Our Path
    In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.
    Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded.
    After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse ! contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand.
    Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.

    5 - Fifth Important Lesson - Giving When it Counts
    Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare and serious disease.
    Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness.
    The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes, I'll do it if it will save her."
    As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheek.
    Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at The doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away?"
    Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.
    You see, after all, understanding and attitude, are everything.

    Remember..... "Work like you don't need the money, love like you've never been hurt, and dance like nobody's watching."
    It isn't paranoia when you KNOW they're out to get you...

  2. #2
    Senior Member roswell1329's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    I love these things. Remember that song that played on a few radio stations during graduation a few years back? It was just a speech like the above lessons that (I think) was attributed to Kurt Vonnegut, but I don't know if that was true. Love that tune, too. Anyone know the artist? It had stuff like "Remember your siblings. They're the greatest gift you'll ever have....Laugh."
    /* You are not expected to understand this. */

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Originally posted here by roswell1329
    I love these things. Remember that song that played on a few radio stations during graduation a few years back? It was just a speech like the above lessons that (I think) was attributed to Kurt Vonnegut, but I don't know if that was true. Love that tune, too. Anyone know the artist? It had stuff like "Remember your siblings. They're the greatest gift you'll ever have....Laugh."
    Vague question, but I think you're refering to an old newspaper article (June 1997 Chicago Tribune) by Mary Schmich (sp?) I think. It's commonly attributed to Vonnegut as "one of the commencement speaches have gave at MIT" (I don't believe he's ever even given a commencement speech there). It was set to music by Baz Luhrmann ("Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen").

    (Why am I having bad flashbacks to the TV Show "Beat the Geeks")

    A quick search of the net comes up with this, for those interested...


    June 1, 1997

    Inside every adult lurks a graduation speaker
    dying to get out, some world-weary pundit eager
    to pontificate on life to young people who'd rather
    be Rollerblading. Most of us, alas, will never be
    invited to sow our words of wisdom among an
    audience of caps and gowns, but there's no reason
    we can't entertain ourselves by composing a
    Guide to Life for Graduates.

    I encourage anyone over 26 to try this and thank
    you for indulging my attempt.

    Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '97:

    Wear sunscreen.

    If I could offer you only one tip for the future,
    sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of
    sunscreen have been proved by scientists,
    whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more
    reliable than my own meandering experience. I will
    dispense this advice now.

    Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh,
    never mind. You will not understand the power
    and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But
    trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of
    yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now
    how much possibility lay before you and how
    fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as
    you imagine.

    Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know
    that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an
    algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real
    troubles in your life are apt to be things that never
    crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside
    you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.

    Do one thing every day that scares you.


    Don't be reckless with other people's hearts.
    Don't put up with people who are reckless with


    Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes
    you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race
    is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.

    Remember compliments you receive. Forget the
    insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

    Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old
    bank statements.


    Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want
    to do with your life. The most interesting people I
    know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do
    with their lives. Some of the most interesting
    40-year-olds I know still don't.

    Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees.
    You'll miss them when they're gone.

    Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe
    you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe
    you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky
    chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary.
    Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too
    much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are
    half chance. So are everybody else's.

    Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't
    be afraid of it or of what other people think of it.
    It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

    Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your
    living room.

    Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.

    Do not read beauty magazines. They will only
    make you feel ugly.

    Get to know your parents. You never know when
    they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings.
    They're your best link to your past and the people
    most likely to stick with you in the future.

    Understand that friends come and go, but with a
    precious few you should hold on. Work hard to
    bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle,
    because the older you get, the more you need the
    people who knew you when you were young.

    Live in New York City once, but leave before it
    makes you hard. Live in Northern California once,
    but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.

    Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise.
    Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old.
    And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you
    were young, prices were reasonable, politicians
    were noble and children respected their elders.

    Respect your elders.

    Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe
    you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a
    wealthy spouse. But you never know when either
    one might run out.

    Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time
    you're 40 it will look 85.

    Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient
    with those who supply it. Advice is a form of
    nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past
    from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the
    ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

    But trust me on the sunscreen.
    \"Windows has detected that a gnat has farted in the general vicinity. You must reboot for changes to take affect. Reboot now?\"

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    ... I love this thread. I want more.
    ...This Space For Rent.


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